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Blues Under-23s 5 Crystal Palace Under-23s 0

It took Richard Beale’s side top of PDL2 and it’s now nine goals without reply in the last two fixtures.
Ronan Hale, on his first appearance this season after injury, opened the scoring before an own goal by Jalem Jones had Blues in command by the break. Thereafter Noe Baba, Paul Caddis (from the penalty spot, pictured) and Wes McDonald increased the deficit.
Blues had to weather an urgent Palace opening spell before going on to dominate a visiting side containing Mathieu Flamini and Fraizer Campbell.
Beryly Lubala might have fired Blues ahead in just three minutes after spinning and shooting at close range from a Viv Solomon-Otabor pass, but Julian Speroni blocked smartly.
It did take an excellent save by Jake Weaver, spreading himself quickly to then waft away a Randell Williams attempt, who had been played through, to keep things level before Hale scored in the 33rd minute.
Caddis embarked on a foray on the right and played a pass into Hale who shifted the ball onto his left foot inside the area and fired low into the bottom corner, Speroni getting a hand on the shot but failing to keep it out.
Five minutes later the lead was doubled when a swift Blues attack resulted in Corey O’Keeffe crossing the ball into the middle of the area and Jones getting into an awkward position and playing an intended clearance off his own body and past a deceived Speroni.
Hale, who had only resumed full training on Monday after a frustrating lay-off due to ankle ligament damage, was replaced by David Popa at the break.
And Popa was right in the thick of it immediately, glancing wide a header in the first meaningful attack of the second-half.
A pivotal moment came in the 52 minute when Jacob Berkeley hit a fizzing shot that Weaver, going down to his right at full-stretch, got fingertips on. The ball diverted onto the post and rebounded along the line, but stayed out.
There was no looking back for Blues from then on in.
Lubala misdirected a left-footer with just Speroni to beat after Caddis broke up a Palace attack on halfway before Blues added their third goal.
It came from a right wing corner by Charlie Cooper, O’Keeffe determinedly getting up at the back post and his downward header went in off Baba on the line.
O’Keeffe then set-up Cooper with an inviting lay-back four minutes later and the latter’s sweeping sidefooter from the edge of the area clipped the top of the crossbar.
Blues went 4-0 ahead in the 77th minute when Popa fed McDonald inside the area and he was blatantly fouled by Sam Woods. Caddis stepped up and stuck away the spot-kick, to the bottom right of goal.
Blues energy, drive and determination never wavered and they could have had more goals.
As it was, they had to settle for just one more, with six minutes left.
McDonald let rip with a powerful rising drive from the edge of the D and although it took a slight deflection it had too much on it for Speroni to keep out.
Blues: Weaver, Caddis, Cogley, Maxwell, Baba, Martin (Seddon 75), O’Keeffe, Cooper, Hale (Popa ht), Lubala (McDonald 66), Solomon-Otabor. Not used: Beardmore.

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